VOL. 12 NO. 1
|The Independent Traveler's Newsletter
AND SUNNY SOUTHEAST ~
The Mimosa Route & Mardi Gras in the South of France
by Anita Rieu-Sicart
publisher of the Var Village Voice**
& Sunny Southeast:
Ici et Là
Rue du Moulin
Good Old Avignon
off to the lovely and, hopefully, warmer sunny southeast corner of France ~
the Côte d'Azur and its environs. We hope we can tempt you to visit there!
You could be forgiven for thinking February is totally yellow in the Var, just up from the Riviera, for the Mimosa will shortly be flowering along the autoroute to Nice and from Bormes Les Mimosa the entire length of the special Mimosa Trail, which winds along the coast from there via Rayol Canadel, Ste-Maxime, St-Raphael, and Tanneron to Cannes Mandelieu, winding up finally in Grasse, the perfume town in the hills.
And, if that were not enough lemon yellow ~ together with orange ~ it will be the predominant color at Menton's celebrated Lemon Festival on the border with Italy. From February on colors break out in zeitgeist explosion in all the Mardi Gras Carnival parades, from small village events to the gigantic Mardi Gras celebrations in Nice!
Mimosa Fests ~ Bormes to Grasse
The Mimosa Fests really start in mid-January with the elections of Miss Mimosa in Ste-Maxime and Pégomas, and from then on a huge program stretches on throughout January, February and right into March, involving guided walks, tours, coach excursions, and beautiful flower-laden parades.
Mimosa, part of the acacia family, was originally brought to Europe from Australia by the explorer Captain Cook, and eventually around 1850, when it had became fashionable for some wealthy English to spend their winters in Riviera resorts, finally arrived in this region. Queen Victoria was a great fan of the Riviera, and in her latter years visited regularly taking pleasure in the local carnivals! These expatriate part-time residents, several of them passionate gardeners, brought over several varieties of mimosa, doubtless from places like Kew where it had been cultured, to decorate their gardens and delighting in the region's gentle climate took to creating magnificent gardens. Several of these survive to this day and can be visited. Chief among them is the Serre de la Madonne garden, created by Lawrence Johnston, designer of Hidcote Manor Garden in the UK.
propagation and culture of Mimosa throughout the region has helped to make
the Var and the Alpes-Maritimes major French horticultural départements
and a centre for the export of cut flowers all over the
> to read an expat's tale of changing times in her little French village: Rue du Moulin paints a picture of sweet memories of things lost.
> to continue our visit in the south of France with Arthur Gillette's exploration of historic Avignon.
> and read our review of 26 Gorgeous Hikes in the Western Côte d'Azur, a guide for those who would enjoy hiking the back country or along the coast of the Mediterranean to experience the natural wonders and beauty of the southern corner of France.
> as we depart from the southern reaches of France and go just a bit north to the Savoie département where winter sports and summer leisure are equally as enjoyable.
> as we join Panos Kakaviatos at a Champagne tasting dinner in Washington DC ~ our current French Wine Report.
ENIGMAS . . . A Quiz on Your
Knowledge of Historic Paris
by Arthur Gillette
Question from the last issue: Why is the Île Saint-Louis (St. Louis Island) so named?
Answer: Because it was there (on a still-barren piece of land very vulnerable to flooding) that in the 13th century King (and later Saint) Louis IX made a vow to undertake a Crusade. The same day and place, he also dubbed his son a knight.
Our new question: In topographical terms, why were the Seine's Right and Left Banks in Paris so named?
Gillette, and take advantage of his amazing knowledge of Paris
[See the answer
to this edition's question
SPONSORING THIS ISSUE:
A dream vacation
awaits you at Maison des Remparts in the idyllic perched village
thousands of Francophiles by advertising in FRANCE On Your Own. Email
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